Hole discovered in Department of Corrections fence
Guam - An investigation is underway at the Department of Corrections following the discovery of hole in the perimeter fence at the Mangilao Compound. The discovery has resulted in a shakedown of the entire facility and inmates and detainees being placed on lockdown indefinitely.
Visitations have been cancelled at DepCor and the inmate and detainee population is currently on lockdown following the discovery of a 12"-x-12" hole in the perimeter fence on the backside of the domes. Agency spokesperson Lieutenant Antone Aguon said, "As protocol, a count was done the unit was placed on lockdown. All inmates were accounted for. Then Monday morning, the warden came in, they did a shakedown of the unit. They found some contraband."
Aguon says officers found a cell phone, drug paraphernalia and tobacco products inside the dome where approximately 60 detainees are being held. "As a result of that," Aguon continued, "the warden ordered that several of the detainees be drug tested. Five of them tested positive, so they were moved to Post 6."
The warden reviewed the files of those who are being detained at the dome and removed a total of 14 of them to the Maximum Security Unit pending further investigation. "The warden has ordered additional fences be put up around that area and shore up the back side of that place," said Aguon. He added that it's too early to say if the hole that was discovered in the perimeter fence is connected with the contraband discovered at the dome unit. Additionally he says there's no indication that anyone escaped from the prison undetected.
Those being detained at the domes are considered a low-risk population as they are being held for contempt of court and probation and parole violations. "It's a minimum security unit," the spokesman stated. "Most of them during the day go out and bushcut around the community as part of their daily activities."
An Internal Affairs investigation has been launched to determine how the detainees got access to the drugs and contraband and whether it was while they were out during daily work details around the community or if someone had thrown the items over the perimeter fence. Aguon says it's possible that some were recently detained and could still have drugs in their system or that they got the drugs while behind bars.
Keeping drugs and contraband out of the prison is a constant challenge and the shortage of officers on duty to watch the growing number of inmates and detainees makes it even more difficult. In fact, there is only one officer assigned to the dome that has a population of some 60 detainees.
"Most of the time, there's just one. If we have extra officers, we put two. Right now, I think it's still one but because of the work in the back; there's extra officers in the back so the warden has done other things to the perimeter to beef it up by assigning other officers to come in at certain times for the perimeter," the lieutenant noted.
And that in turn results in increased overtime costs for the department, with Aguon saying, "But we have to do what we've got to do to make sure nobody gets out and keep the contraband out as best we can."